The Latino Muslim Voice
The April-June 2002 newsletter features:
Quotes of the Month
"Like the Earth"
By Samantha Sanchez
I am a woman of many layers
As the layers and veils are lifted
I am a woman and like the earth
My core is solid
Yet ever comforting and protecting
"Islam in the Texas Panhandle"
By Juan Galvan.
I grew up in the Texas Panhandle. I had a boring childhood, I should mention, again. I spent over half my life in two small towns, Turkey and Quitaque. Turkey was named after Turkey Creek. Turkey's first newspaper was called the 'Turkey Gobbler.' Quitaque was named after an Indian name which means horse manure. I sometimes joke that I am uncultured as a result. The population of both towns is less than 600 and shrinking. In 1972, the Turkey and Quitaque schools consolidated creating Valley School halfway between the two towns. I attended Valley School and have fond memories of life as a Valley Patriot. One day I would like to speak at Valley School about Islam. I am not certain why I would have such a desire. I could reach a larger audience anywhere else in Texas. Perhaps, because Valley School, Turkey and Quitaque, are still what I call home. I returned to the Texas Panhandle last month to visit my family in Pampa.
While visiting my family, I decided to install Windows 2000 but I didn't know I would need updated modem drivers. I went to the library to download the drivers. I ended up spending the afternoon at the library. I was very proud of myself because I gathered the courage to pray at the library. I prayed between a couple of book shelves. I checked out the religious section of the library. I was happy to see a few books about Islam. While visiting my family last summer in Memphis, Texas, I could not find any Islamic literature at the library. I donated a Qur'an to the Pampa library. The two copies available appeared worn out.
While at the Pampa library, I took a break from writing e-mails. My eyes felt as if they were about to explode. I spend too much time writing e-mails I am embarrassed to admit, and may even deny, it. During my walk, I found a Baptist Christian school. In front of the school, a sign states "The Crusaders" below an image of a European knight. In colleges around the country, you will find a Christian organization called Campus Crusade for Christ. Perhaps, in three hundred years, we Muslims will have schools whose mascot is the "The Mujahideen." By then, some creative Muslims would have begun the Campus Jihad for Allah. Yes, crusade good, jihad bad. I can be very sarcastic.
As soon as I arrived in Pampa, I searched through the Pampa phonebook looking for Pampa Muslims. I hoped that Muslims rented an apartment for the daily prayers. At least, Muslims got together to prayed Jumah on Fridays, I hoped. In the phonebook, I found only a couple of Muslim names. Both were doctors. One of the doctors lived in Amarillo but had his phone number listed in the Pampa phonebook. I did not call the other doctor. I was not certain if he was Muslim nor did I want to bother him. I also called the Amarillo mosque to inquire about the existence or nonexistence of Pampa Muslims. The person who answered the phone told me he knew of only one Muslim family in Pampa but he didn't have their contact information. I told him I would come to the Amarillo Mosque if I had the opportunity.
I have to always remind myself that I am not a Baptist preacher. At a recent Southern Baptist Convention, a crazy Baptist said some foolish things about our Beloved Prophet. I wished a well-known American imam would have responded with, "I know you are but what is he?" I try to be as subtle as possible when discussing Islam. I distributed Dhikr beeds to each of my family members. They had never seen Dhikr beeds before. I told them that remembrance beeds are used by many Muslims after prayer as they recite "Allah Akbar," "Subhanna Allah," and "Alhamdulila," each thirty-three times. Dhikr beeds create curiosity.
I brought Islamic literature for my family. I gave my mom some pamphlets. I told her she could ask me questions after reading the pamphlets. I also gave her a copy of the "Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam." I let my sister Mary borrow my book full of Qur'anic versions. The verses in the book are classified into topic-related categories. She asked, "Where did you get this book of poetry?" Many non Muslims are pleasantly surprised to learn that the Qur'an is poetic. A few days later, she returned the book while I was out jogging. I hope she enjoyed the book. I gave the book to my younger sister, Cathy. I want my family to understand and perhaps, appreciate my religion. People need to educate themselves about Islam before embracing it. The Muslim community has plenty of ignorant Muslims as it is. Allah guides who He will.
Islam can definitely seem strange to non Muslims. One day, Jerry, my sister Mary's husband, saw me praying. I was in prostration at the time. He stood beside me and then lowered his face toward the carpet. I tried hard to maintain my concentration. After the prayer, he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was praying. "Oh, I thought you had lost something in the carpet," he said, "I was about to help you." On another day, Mary and Jerry's kids watched me pray. 'Mary and Jerry' sounds like a delicious brand of ice cream, by the way. I think watching a Muslim pray must be a strange observation for non Muslims. An American Muslim convert once told me that his decision to revert occurred after visiting a mosque. After seeing Muslims pray, Michael knew that the way the Muslims prayed was the correct way to pray to God.
I visited my grandparents. They are in good health. I have not told them that I am Muslim yet. I am not sure they could take the excitement. They would not be angry so much because I embraced Islam as they would be that I left the Roman Catholic religion. I was not in the mood to argue with my grandpa. When I was a teenager, he invited me to eat dinner. I was glued to the television. I told him I wasn't hungry. With a vicious look on his face, he asked, "What? You don't want to eat grandma's food??" I went straight to the dinner table. I always enjoyed seeing my grandpa pray whether at church or at the altar in his bedroom. I recall wishing I could feel the way my grandpa feels as he prays toward a statue of Jesus or of Mary. Today, when I pray at a mosque, I feel a closer relationship to God than I thought ever imaginable.
On the way to my grandparent's place, I popped in a cassette called "Purpose of Life," which explains the fundamentals of Islam. There were a couple of issues my dad raised. My dad pointed out that he knew someone who did memorize the entire Bible. I said, "You're saying he memorized the entire Bible?" "No," he corrected himself, "he read the entire Bible." "I've read the entire Bible," I told him. Laughing, he replied, "No wonder you're so messed up." I continued, "But kids as young as eight have memorized the entire Qur'an. I think that's a miracle." He also pointed out that Jesus was not a Muslim. I responded, "Well, in the sense that he obeyed God, worshipped only God, and all his actions were for God. Islam means obedience and submission in its purest sense."
I visited with my siblings as much as possible. I love my brother but not his cat. He has a wild cat. His cat loved biting me. I'd push his cat away, and it would run back to bite me some more. The cat bit my finger during tashahud. I'll forgive his cat this time. Cruelty to animals is forbidden in Islam. My brother and I get along fairly well. I guess he has forgiven me for the way I treated him when we were growing up. I remember once tying him up and telling him I was going to leave him outside for the entire night. I'm not sure how he escaped because I do not recall setting him free.
I went to Amarillo with my brother and his wife to watch movies during the weekend. While returning to Pampa, I read a sign that said Quail Creek Road, which I knew led to the Amarillo mosque. I asked Robert to take me there to pray. Within a few minutes, we found the mosque. I convinced my brother to enter the mosque and that was no easy task. He was surprised that we Muslims take off our shoes before entering a mosque. During my first trip to a mosque, I was worried someone would steal my shoes. I showed Robert how to perform wudu. That's wudu, not voodoo. "Now you know what I was doing with my feet in your kitchen sink the other day," I said. While leaving the mosque, he said, "That wasn't so bad. I was thinking they were gonna stare at us funny and say something because we're Mexicans." I grinned. Many Muslims at the Austin Mosque are still surprised to learn that I'm Mexican-American. As one brother said, "Oh, I thought you were a terrorist like the rest of us." Muslims have a funny sense of humor.
The following Saturday, Robert, his wife, and I watched a couple of more movies at the theater in Amarillo. Once again, we went to the mosque after the movies. I convinced my brother again to enter the mosque. A Latino brother once e-mailed stating that as a young boy he was afraid to get near a mosque because he and his friends were told that the people there enjoyed sacrificing humans. After praying Isha, the imam began to speak to my brother about Islam. He gave Robert an overview about Islam. An American brother named Salim who grew up in Borger gave me his phone number. He knows a Muslim from Pampa and said he'd give me his phone number when I call. Robert and I ended up spending over an hour at the mosque. His wife stayed in the car. The next day, I returned to Austin.
As always, it was difficult leaving my family. God has definitely blessed me with a loving family. I get along well with my parents and all my siblings. At the Amarillo airport, a Christian asked me, "Are you taking Jesus onboard with you?" I replied, "No, I'm taking my faith onboard with me." In God we trust. We shared a pleasant conversation. I could not gather the courage to pray at the airport. I was afraid to get cloth lined. I admire an Austin brother. He has a long beard, usually wears a thobe, and still continues to pray at the airport. He and his wife receive annoying stares, he told me. At the airport, he recently told an older lady, "Don't worry. We're just Muslim. We're not gonna hurt you."
While onboard the plane, I met a Latino from Borger named Jose. He was about to visit his sister in Nashville. We ended up sitting beside each other. Before leaving the plane, I handed Jose a small booklet about Islam. He received the booklet with a smile. I did not give him the literature sooner because I did not want the passengers to hear the word Islam onboard the plane. I did not discuss Islam on the flight. It's almost as if saying Islam is like saying 'bomb' nowadays. As I left the plane, I felt very saddened because deep inside I know the chances of Jose embracing Islam are rather slim. The Texas Panhandle needs a foundation to foster the growth of Islam.
Islam in Ecuador
By Yahya Juan Suquillo
Later on, the Inca Empire, which conquered the southern tribes of Ecuador, had almost the same practices and beliefs as other Indian tribes. When Spaniards came to conquer the new continent, the change to Catholicism was not that great. The Catholics only needed to switch the "Sun God" with the statue of the "Son of God," half-naked on the cross. A change of an 'idol for idol' by replacing by replacing the 'sun god' for 'son of god', of course, is not any big change! The theology of God rendered by the Catholic conquerors showed the classic naive primitive mind as the people of "Dunia", who believe only what is in front of their eyes.
The Inca king, named "Atahualpa," was burned alive because he rejected Christianity. He threw the Bible to the ground when Spaniards tried to force him to believe that the Bible was the "word of God." His act of defiance would lead to his execution as a blasphemer. Ever since then, the Roman Catholic Christian religion has been the predominant and official religion in the Ecuadorian land.
A little bit over a hundred years ago, Christian Protestants from the Evangelistic sect have been working in Ecuador. They are believed to be the second largest religious group after Catholics in Ecuador. Adventists, Mormons, Gnostics, Anglicans, Bahais and some other Protestant sects have all been working hard in the last two to three decades to bring people to their own religion. Various philosophies from India and from the Far East have been seeking followers since about twenty to thirty years ago. Jews had no visible head until 2001 when someone was appointed from the Argentinean Jewish community.
BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT MUSLIMS IN ECUADOR.
Most of these first Ecuadorian Muslims were traders. Ecuadorian economy at the beginning of the century was largely based on interchanging products. The first two to three decades were very rough for the settlers. They would walk long distances, follow the post service on the back of mules, and try to reach the nearest village to start up business. These first Muslims settlers in Latin America experienced different type of customs, fashion, and food. They would exchange "Tamar" (dates), "maiy zahar" (rose water), "falafel" (mashed fried peas), "basbusa and baklawa" (laborious sweets) for banana, panela (dark sugar cane), agua aromitica (herb water), and pinol (wheat flour).
MUSLIM IDENTITY AND FAMILY
GROUPING & ORGANIZING
A minor Indian Pakistani migration took place by the beginning of the 1990s. Many of them have already reached their migratory goals in US or Canadian ports. In religious matters, they left almost no track to follow. By the late 1990s, Ecuador experienced Muslim migration, mainly from West African Countries, such as Liberia, Nigeria, and Ghana, whose internal disruptions led them to search a place to live.
LOCAL ECUADOREAN RE-CONVERTED PIONEERS
By the mid 1990s, more and more Ecuadorians began to embrace Islam. Today, every single Friday, at least one "Shahada" that takes place. Alhamdulilah! This trend was not easy due to criticism, and some times rejection, coming even from inside their own blood relatives. According to a rough estimate, our Muslim population in the whole country is around five hundred people.
CREATION OF MASJID
A handful of Muslims attempted to create the first masjid by renting an apartment to be used as a Mussala for Salat AlJumuah. Later on the Egyptian Embassy facilitated an apartment for the same purpose, but the Ecuadorian Muslims could not stay for long. Another attempt occurred on October 1988. An organization, Asociacion Cultural Khaled bin Al Walid, was founded with the purpose of establishing a masjid. In Qur'an 9:108, Allah states "Verily, a mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein (to pray)."
"Let there be among you a community who invite unto all that is good, enjoing what is right, and forbid what is wrong." Qur'an 3:104.
THE CENTRO ISLAMICO DEL ECUADOR - MASJID " ASSALAAM"
The Center has recently published and printed fifteen different topics in pamphlet forms. The Spanish pamplets are: 1) Islam at glance, 2) Mount Arafat Sermon, 3) Do you know that...(the Pope at the time of our Prophet Muhammad SAAWS, embraced Islam?) 4) General aspects about fasting in Ramadan 5) Misconceptions about Jihad. 6) Danger in dancing. 7) Is Jesus really God? 8) You should know about this great man (Prophet Muhammad SAAWS). 9) Who invented the trinity? 10) What is Islam? 11) Islamic Fundamentalism? 12) What Islam is not about. 13) Muhammad in the Bible.14) Fire in your stomachs (about alcohol). 15) According to the Bible, Jews have no right on Palestinian land.
SHARING STRATEGIES IN DAWAH WORK.
WE ASK ALLAH (SWT) TO FORGIVE ALL THE BELIEVERS AND TO BESTOW HIS PEACE AND PRAISE UPON OUR PROPHET MUHAMMAD.
El Islam en Cuba
Por Khadija Mohiuddin
Ojalá que nunca olvide de mi visita a Cuba y mi encuentro histórico con los musulmanes de la Habana. Los musulmanes de Cuba realmente son un grupo maravilloso. A pesar de su ambiente que no está inclinado a "la religión," ellos están sobreviviendo y superando. Tuve que irme a un país extranjero que queda perdido entre la lucha contra el capitalísmo y para el socialismo para poder ver un ejemplo puro del Islam. El amor que el musulmán cubano tiene para otro musulmán es imaginable, es algo bello que te llena de esperanza y confianza que sólo el Islam es la verdad. A travez de esta verdad Ala permite que unan los seres humanos con sinceridad y sin motivo.
El pueblo cubano en sí mismo es algo único también. En ese país que tiene un sístema educativo a lo cual no hay igual, bajo Castro ha crecido un pueblo más educado que lo promedio. Educados e inteligentes, muchos Cubanos vienen a adoptarse al Islam como una manera de vivir. Muchos escogen al Islam porque reconocen la logica y la tranquilidad que el Islam provee. En el año 1999, el número de musulmanes en la isla constaba de más de mil musulmánes. Esta cifra no incluye a los musulmanes de paises extranjeros que viven en Cuba. Cada día más cubanos étnicos están abrazando al Islam a tal estremo que los nombres musulmánes que ya saben están siendo repetidos. Para cambiar oficialmente sus nombres a nombres islámicos prueba ser algo difícil para muchos. Y aunque sepan que no es necesario cambiar el nombre, sin embargo, muchos quieren realizarlo porque quieren ser reconocidos como musulmanes. Con nombres que suenan diferentes y que llaman la atención, muchos dicen que existen más oportunidades para hacer el dawa al resto de su pueblo cubano.
Desde el año 1996 los cubanos y los cubanos musulmanes no pueden entrar a la mezquita ubicada en La Habana Vieja porque están prohibidos por las autoridades gubernamentales. A pesar de eso, los musulmanes cubanos se congregan en sus casas para rezar juntos y ofrecer Salat al-yuma en congregación. También, Castro permite que la mujer y el hombre musulman vistan en la manera que gusten. Aunque es algo extraño para los no musulmanes, ahora muchas mujeres musulmanes visten con el jiyab y la ropa modesta que eleva a la mujer. También, los hombres llevan barbas, sin que el gobierno les prohiba.
Los musulmanes de Cuba están tratando de obtener recursos islámicos en español para facilitar su entendimiento del Islam y más que nada para aprender el árabe. Quieren entender por sí mismos que enseña Alá a la humanidad. El hecho que les falta una traducción buena del Sagrado Corán les hace más importante que sepan el árabe. En comunidades rurales, como la de La Broa en la provincia de La Habana, existen como dos copías del Corán para cada cincuenta personas. En tales lugares, los musulmanes existen como una minoría. Pero aun los no musulmanes consideran a los musulmanes como una minoría beneficial para toda la comunidad. Han abierto una mezquita en esa region de La Broa que sirve también como un lugar donde pueden venir estudiantes para repasar sus lecciones de las escuelas públicas. Así viene más gente que primero mandan a sus hijos y luego vienen y se acercan al Islam.
Para ellos es difícil mantener lazos abiertos con los consules que vienen de países musulmánes aunque ellos y los consules quieran porque esto arriesga a los puestos oficiales de los consules.
En resúmen, los musulmanes de Cuba no piden dinero ni ropa ni comida, sino piden que los musulmanes de fuera recuerden en sus oraciones a sus hermanos y hermanas-los musulmanes de Cuba que están trabajando en la via de Alá. Que Alá de la victoria a los musulmanes en Cuba y en todas las partes del mundo. Amin y Aljamdulilá.
Letter to Muslim Hippie Chicks
By Khadijah Rivera
The crowd was mixed and that night I was among teens and people who were half a century old swaying to the claps of his guitar. I too was mesmerized as I stood over the stage in a music box. At one point, he stared at me directly in hijab and started talking about September 11th. He said that we were ALL brothers and that CNN was now the WAR MONGER station, but it was up to us to continue lovin' and not profile each other. He talked about the Abrahamic religions as if he was a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim. Told us not to let anyone divide us. I saw lots of tears at that folk concert. Were they tears of sadness or tears of Joy?!
I was sad that a non Muslim was the one to say such things, but joyful he did. And the others? I pretty much don't care, because when he walked off the stage his message carried on. As I passed by the crowd, "Hippie people" smiled from the heart. The key word that night was PEACE and BROTHERHOOD and yes: Lots of Lovin'!
Four Principles of Dawah
By Juan Galvan
Earlier this year, I asked a local Imam advice about dawah. He replied, "Sincerity. Intention. Tension. Manners. First, you must be sincere. Your intentions and actions must be only for the sake of Allah (swt). Expect tension. Have manners."
The work you're doing doesn't have worldly returns. Don't expect any worldly returns. If you always expect things and are waiting for things, you'll never get work done. You will never the get recognition you deserve. All actions are only to gain pleasure from Allah.
By ensuring our intentions are purely for Allah, we free ourselves from expectations of worldly rewards. We don't expect acknowledgement, wealth, anything. We are sacrificing our time purely for the Deen without expectations. "[Do not follow] the lust (of thy heart), for it will mislead thee from the Path of God." (Qur'an 38:26).
Race to do good deeds. Friendly competition benefits everyone. Ultimately, we are on the same side. This attitude helps lessen stress and dangerous levels of competition. Sometimes, you will work with people you neither trust nor admire.
A sincere Muslim does not deny anything that is known by necessity to be part of Islam. We cannot make something Halal that is Haram, or something Haram that is Halal. Sincerely repent after committing sins and avoid telling others to avoid setting a bad example. Sincere Muslims practice their religion and educate themselves.
Sincerity requires consistent actions around others and when alone. Respect and good-manners toward others should be sincere. We must be sincere toward everyone. Sincere Muslims should care about current problems and issues within the entire community. Islam is the true, universal religion of our Creator. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing, All-Aware.
Intention gives you direction. Intention also allows you to quantify your actions. Many new Muslims want to help but have no idea where to start. State your intentions in clear terms. Set deadlines when possible.
Intentions guide actions. What actions do you need to take? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What sacrifices will you need to make? Time. Economic. Emotional.
Always, check your intentions. You may need to modify them. Be flexible. Check your intentions for sincerity. First things first. Prioritize. Learn to think in terms of one year, five years, and fifteen years from now.
Educate yourself. You can only teach up to what you know. No more and no less.
Consider whom you befriend. People want you to follow them. Do not blindly follow people. You may never fully trust the people you follow and/or lead. Know when to lead and when to follow.
"To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah will bring you together. For Allah Hath power over all things." (Qur'an 2:148). Race to do good deeds. Set your intentions. People with similar interests will miraculously enter your life. When you take a step toward Allah, He will come running toward you.
"Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..." (Qur'an 16:125). Analyze people and situations. Consider current knowledge, background, customs, and culture. Avoid using expressions and vocabulary unfamiliar to non-Muslims. Use little Arabic at first.
Begin by teaching the basics. Begin with Tawheed. Tawheed is the "Unification of Lordship, of Worship, and of His Names and Attributes." Don't confuse people. Explain what Tawheed means. We can't isolate ourselves from non-Latino Muslims and non-Muslims.
The three fundamental concepts of Islam are Tawheed, Prophethood, and Day of Judgment. Explain the Pillars of Faith. Explain the Pillars of Islam. Explain common misconceptions about Islam. People think you're a terrorist. Maybe.
Anyone who gives dawah will experience tension. You will be criticized. The more you do, the more criticism you will get. You will need to give advice, suggestions, and ask questions.
Expect tests and trials. Your patience will be tested. You will make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Don't give up. Read your tension. Tension often speaks to you.
Perform an action then leave the results in the hands of Allah. You can't control everything. Allah knows best. Patience. Everyone is busy; all the time. Only Allah knows what's in your heart.
Be committed. Make things happen. Next time, you'll get more volunteers. Remind people. We forget. Time is the most valuable asset you can give. People are your most valuable asset.
The Prophet would assign Muslims jobs according to their ability. We will not all be scholars, administrators, or heroes. Do your best with what is available. "And in no wise covet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others." (Qur'an 4:32).
Don't be a hypocrite. You will be called a hypocrite. Don't burn bridges. You will burn bridges. Consequences come from our behavior. Don't be afraid to make decisions. Get advice and ask questions when appropriate. Listen.
We're on the same side. Seek to empower people rather than making them your slaves. The more you help others, the more they can do for themselves and others. That's freedom for everyone. Seek long-term friendships.
Everyone is a human with feelings and needs. Everyone thinks they are right. Watch your ego. Know when to let go of your pride.
Bad morals destroy society. People will avoid and humiliate you. No one will like your personality. Avoid people who have bad manners.
"And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour who is a kinsman and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful." (Qur'an 4:36).
People who follow the example of the Prophet attract people. Be a role model. Be wise. Be patient. Be truthful. Be fair. Be courageous. Be considerate. Be just. Be generous. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Be respectful.
May Allah guide us all. Surely, Allah SWT is the best guide.
Cute Christian Missionaries
By Ibad Ur Rahman
Something happened recently that I want to share with you. What happened was funny, and what happened was also a fun experience. I want to share this fun experience with you, my brothers and sisters, because I think you might gain from it and you might be amused.
I was eating pasta in the college Union and minding my own business. Some people might say I was looking like my "bad version." lol. My cap was turned backward, and I was wearing an old leather jacket. I had a slightly tense expression, a lot of work it is! I was sitting alone only because I am avoiding my friends these days to get more work done. Well, as I ate my pasta and minding my own business, two girls entered the Union. I thought nothing of it. Two more students to eat and be merry I figured. I guess they were supposed to look like students. I ate by myself for a few more minutes when I became aware that those same two girls were suddenly near my table.... and approaching. I looked up in alarm, a strand of spaghetti hanging from my closed mouth. Actually, the spaghetti hanging from my mouth did not happen, but the idea does sound dramatic.
The two students introduced themselves as... I forgot their names. They asked if I would fill out a survey for them. I thought to myself, "Social Science Scum...no problem, I can deal with that." No wonder I did not bother to remember their names! However, one of them was from Houston as I recall. "Please have a seat," I said. "Of course, of course," I continued.
After the necessary "hellos" and handshakes, they told me that they were interested in having me participate in their survey. Duh. Their survey was about church attendance and religious sentiments, etc. I told them that I was not Christian. They insisted so I decided to proceed with the survey. They asked me some questions at first about my religious feelings and why people should go to church, etc. I answered their questions as best as I could for a while. They then started putting the survey sheet down and their pens.
With a serious look in her eyes, one of the students explained, "We do not wish to preach to you but we do want to express our opinions about something. You see..." This began their process of conversion. Their ultimate goal was to show me the light of Christianity. They wanted to show me that indeed Jesus was God incarnate. You know that God lived and died on the cross for all of mankind. This conversion process would about last half an hour. I must add that all this time both girls were acting strangely "dairy" if you take my meaning. You would not expect these two girls to act as they acted unless I was a very good friend or another girl. Certainly, not a dangerous-looking bearded manlike myself! One was blonde and beautiful. To be very frank, she did not seem very intelligent. The other girl was slightly less beautiful and seemed like an intellectual brunette. They seemed to be a strangely clichéd team. The brunette succeeded more in appearing genuinely friendly. However, the blonde kept looking at my warm, wonderful pasta with "impure looks." She actually made a few playful swipes at it. She said that it looked "So good." Perhaps I would be in this state as well, if I had spent my life on a diet. Because I am a gentleman, I invited her to get some cutlery and help herself. At which, thankfully, they both laughed and made no further moves against my pasta. We have all heard these arguments before. The brunette argued that God was completely Just. "We are all sinners so in order to go to heaven God had to sacrifice his one and only Son," she explained. She also insisted that she believed in one God.
I listened to her. I kindly responded explaining, "God is powerful enough to forgive my sins without slaughtering his son. Jesus is not God. Therefore, you are in fact worshipping three gods. Three cannot possibly equal to one. Please show me where in the Bible Jesus directly says that he is the Son of God. Please explain why the trinity was formulated 300 years after the supposed crucifixion."
To both questions, she claimed to have an excellent answer. Neither answer was to my satisfaction. The blonde then interceded, Jesus-like, to relieve the brunette. She gave me some verses from the Old Testament, which was not what I had asked for, to tell me that she had many Pakistani friends. Trying to sound playful, I then asked her how many she had managed to convert. At this question, both seemed to mumble something like, "no ..no, I mean...that's not what we..." I was now smiling as broadly as they had been before. I suppose they took some other meaning from my smile as the blonde kept fixing her jacket and pulling it in front of her. The action was conspicuous. I guess my friends are right. I do look like a dangerous creep. Thanks to Blondie though, I have learned my lesson. I will dress and look decently from now on. In any case, the Blonde One proceeded to inform me, much to my alarm, that one of her Pakistani friends had converted to Christianity.
She continued, "Muslims do not seem to be sure if they are going to Heaven or not, nor are they at peace with themselves." She beseeched me to "let down my guard to and take in Christ." At this, I informed her that I disagreed. I explained, "Muslims do have peace. In our little one-room-mosque, three white converts to Islam are completely at peace with Allah. They say that Christianity never gave them that kind of satisfaction." I also pointed out that many Muslims I know are at peace. At this point, the brunette gave her companion a quick smile... of alarm I hope. I proceeded to tell them that although my sins will probably outnumber my good deeds I believed that God was Merciful enough to let me into heaven if He saw it fit in His mercy. I also told the blonde girl that she should meet some real Muslims and definitely not the kinds of Muslims she had met so far.
At this point, both of them went into ten minutes worth of continuous Bible quoting, beseeching, and preaching. They told me to have an open heart. The blonde told me that she had been a drunkard and that she had been "saved" from being a "drunk, beauty obsessed ditz by the power of Jesus Christ." I saw no evidence of her rescue by Jesus from being a "beauty obsessed ditz." Eventually, came the end of the half-hour much more quickly for you than for me. I thanked them very much for trying "to save" me. More mumbling and denials followed. I explained, "I understand that you think that I am damned. I have appreciated you sharing your wisdom. At the very least, I should be allowed to do the same." At this point, Blondie seemed to have had lost her nerve.
Previously, she would look straight into my eyes as she was talking to me. I had quiet enjoyed staring right back into those huge pupils with an over earnest expression. By the way, huge pupils indicate Valium abuse. However, by now, she had sensed that she was being preached to by the Devil and that she needed to protect her "cute, little mind" from my poisonous words. She seemed to stare into space. She looked longingly at the lobby as if she wished to be in it. I told her that I believed in the One and only God who was omnipotent, and One, not three, who had the power to forgive me without slaughtering himself on the cross. I told Blondie specifically that I did not expect her to lower her guard to which she said "No." Indeed, she was ...hmm....strong-willed AND beautiful. I told them that I would do them a favor by thinking about what they had said. In exchange, I asked them to listen to me with an open heart and mind. I also asked if I could recommend some books to them to improve their arguments for future sessions.
I gave them two or three book references. I even gave them my email address in case they could not find the texts so that I could provide them for free. Wanting to make acceptance of my books seem more realistic, the brunette asked if she could also send me questions. "Of course. O course." They were both surprised at my parting ramble and were eager to go. The blonde was quite quiet and probably thought that I was giving my email for other reasons. I thanked them again and told them I appreciated them trying to save me. I needed to hear them break out in frenzied mumbling again. I love power. I told them that if they needed any further information I would be happy to recommend more texts if they asked. As they left, the brunette nicely pointed out that my pasta was probably cold. My heart sank. I looked at my plate and quickly sampled the contents, only to discover all was lost.
2. Missionaries go to Bangladesh to "learn about Islam" and "prey upon villagers who know little about their own faith." The brunette has traveled to Bangladesh to "learn about Islam." They also convert horny Pakis. These attractive women stop being nice as soon as the job is done. Consequently, they leave Pakis with neither faith nor blonde! What kind of a Muslim would be "friends" with a missionary blonde anyway? Well at least his departure from Islam is not an insult to Islam. I wish the Christians good luck with the guy. He will NEVER "get the girl", but he could have gotten paradise, oops, there goes that one too!
3. Beautiful missionary girls will not call or e-mail you back. Bitter sniffling, especially if you know what they say is fake. It just breaks my heart that.... *sigh*
4. I was not as big a pushover as they thought. I was bigger. I should have refused and eaten my pasta while it was hot. Dear guys, do you know what is under the nails of a blonde missionary? Always protect your food! They are NOT acting cute because you are hot. Don't you EVER look in the mirror?
I hope you all will guard your faith.
Los Angeles Muslims Lead by Example
By Juan Galvan
In September 1999, a group of five Los Angeles Latino Muslims decided to form a study group to learn more about Islam in Spanish. They began meeting on Sundays at the Islamic Center of Southern California. The small group realized that many local Latinos were visiting the Islamic Center by either curiosity or to find information about Islam in Spanish. These visits by non-Muslim Latinos were occurring so frequently that they decided to structure an introduction to Islam program in the Spanish language.
Local reporters began to take notice of this growing Latino Muslim group. Because reporters would contact them frequently, they decided to take a name. The study group decided to call themselves the Los Angeles Latino Muslims Association (LALMA). LALMA has grown from five members to approximately forty members. Ten members recently embraced Islam. These new Muslims bring to the community a joy and new life that one can only experience when the Shahada is pronounced.
The Los Angeles Latino Muslims Association's mission is to teach the fundamentals of Islam in the Spanish language. In addition to providing literature, LALMA promotes a better understanding about Islam among the Spanish-speaking non-Muslim population. At the same time, LALMA strives to provide spiritual support for new Muslims during the period of transition from Christianity to Islam by sharing a common language and culture. All new Muslims must deal with personal habits and family concerns. LALMA assigns members to give personal support to new Muslims. LALMA's ultimately incorporates new Latino Muslims into the larger, multiethnic Islamic community in Southern California.
LALMA also gives presentations about Islam as part of its outreach activities. LALMA has been invited to give presentations about Islam at Catholic Churches. One presentation was given to twenty-six leaders of different Catholic Churches. Presentations are always appreciated. Most Latinos are generally surprised to learn about the presence of Islam in Spain and about Islam's influence in Mexico and in the United States.
Every year approximately 100,000 Americans embrace Islam. American Islamic publishing companies can be commended for the healthy flow of Islamic literature in the English language. From its creation, LALMA experienced the need for more Spanish literature. LALMA would set sail on its greatest adventure, the creation of Luz del Islam Publishing. Luz del Islam Publishing will seek to fill the void experienced by Latino Dawah organizations around the country by providing low cost, high quality books to Latino Muslims.
The leader of this dynamic group is Marta Felicitas Galedary. Marta is an immigrant from Mexico. Marta was a Roman Catholic. One of her sisters is a nun. Marta is a registered nurse who often volunteers her time at a local hospital. She first heard about Islam in 1981 while taking an advanced English summer course in England. She met students from different parts of the world. Kitar, Ishmael, and Hassan were Muslim students from Brunei, but these students did not preach Islam. Their actions were much louder than words. Their message was about courtesy, about kindness, and about respect for women. Their friendship continued after that summer by mail. Marta would ask one of her friends how to communicate with their God, not realizing that Catholics worship the same God.
Two years later in 1983, Marta would take Shahada at the Islamic Center of Southern California. She would take Khadija as her Muslim name. After receiving the first revelation from the Qur'an, Muhammad hurried home shivering and trembling. His wife, Khadija, would comfort him by saying: "I pray that you will be the Prophet of this nation. You are kind to your kin, generous to the guest, helpful to the needy and truthful in your speech, so God will not let you down." By following the Prophet's lead, LALMA and Khadija Galedary are among the Latino Muslims who offer hope for Islam in America.
Good Tidings to the Strangers
By Shariffa Carlo Al Andalusia
Abdullah ibn Masud, said: "the Prophet (saw) said 'Islam began as something strange, and it will revert to being strange as it was in the beginning, so good tidings to the strangers.' Some asked, 'Who are the strangers?' He said, 'The ones who break away from their people (literally, 'tribes') for the sake of Islam.'" (Sahih Muslim, Ibn Majah)
I look around and I see an increase in strangers, people who have left their homes, their families, and their old lives, in pursuit of greener pastures. The problem is that when they arrive, they find too many deserts. The people they migrate to may look and sound like Muslims, but so much is warped.
Lately, I feel more and more like a stranger. I now live in a Muslim land, but even here, I must isolate myself. OK. There are a great many advantages. I wake up to the Adhan; my dress is not considered strange or obvious; most haram is kept hidden; and there is a masjid on every corner. I still consider it better than any of the alternatives, but something is missing.
Trust me. I did not come to the Muslim lands thinking I was going to find jannah. I am a very pragmatic woman. I recognize that becoming a Muslim does not make one suddenly become perfect, nor does being born into a Muslim family. I guess what I was not prepared for was how much haram had become commonplace - acceptable - no big deal (a'adi - as the locals like to call it).
Haram existed even in the Medina of Rasul Allah. I know this. There is no way to stop people from doing haram, if someone really want to do it, because they will always find a way. But, I am talking about attitudes. I am talking about the feeling that the haram is the norm and the halal is strange.
One small example. Whenever there is a wedding, music is the norm. You are to expect a band or a D.J. because it is no big deal - especially since so many "sheikhs" say it is halal. This does not surprise me as the Prophet already warned us:
Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari: that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful... Sahih Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v.
So, since we knew this would happen, why am I surprised? Well, usually, when people are warned, they have enough sense to recognize when the event happens. It's one thing to do haram another when haram becomes the norm and the one who refuses to participate in it is actually condemned, as is happening now.
It is even worse when the one who refuses to participate is criticized for it. At a recent wedding, when music was played, I left the room, to wait for it to be over. One insightful sister asked me why I was "hiding out". I explained, and her response was - and it was OK when they played Arabic stuff? (the duff and voice)? It's all the same." I tried to explain the hadiths making the duff and the voice an exception, and she walked out - angry with me for not participating in the haram.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Women who wear hijab are being refused jobs by Muslims in Muslim countries unless they remove their hijabs. Men with beards are being portrayed as backwards, dumb and clumsy. The opposite of what Allah and His messenger commanded us is becoming the norm and the practicing Muslim is slowly being ostracized. At a recent interview, the uncovered woman who interviewed me was literally bending and twisting - aligning herself with my eyes - and saying, "Are you in there somewhere?" She was attempting to make me feel inferior because I opted to obey Allah while she did not.
Another lady tried to rationalize to herself that I covered myself in this way to please my husband. I quickly broke that bubble, explaining in plain language that this was Allah's right over me, and I do it purely for His sake, not for earthly gain. She found it hard to believe that anyone would do this voluntarily, and she was born and raised as a Muslim in a Muslim country.
Another lady, who wears abiya and face veil was telling me how quickly she would rip it all off if she had the chance to go to America. It seems, culture and a'eb (shame) were her primary motivators.
As I said, I knew that there were people like this, so their existence did not shock me - what shocked me is that they have become the norm. When I went to Saudi from America several years ago, I was disappointed by the fact that a Palestinian woman and I were the only ones on the plane covering ourselves. My disappointment increased when one "helpful" Saudi lady told me I did not have to put this veil thing on yet. And disappointment turned to grief when, as we approached Saudi, a row of women lined up to cover themselves with abiyas and face veils.
Did we reach the limits of Allah's sight or just the limits of their faith? Was there any faith to begin with or just a fear of the consequences of breaking the law? Don't get me wrong, I have met many great Saudi women, but unfortunately, none of them were on this particular flight.
Again, I return to the hadith, 'Islam began as something strange, and it will revert to being strange and I see how close we are to fulfilling it's prediction. There is a well known poem about what we would do it the Prophet were to visit us today. It is a poignant insight into how far we have strayed from his example. I wonder how we would treat the Prophet himself, if he came to our masjids, much less our homes.
In one masjid I used to attend, a brother stood up at Jumah and explained why it was haram to celebrate Halloween. The Imam agreed with him, so he suggested that the children be brought on the day of Halloween to the masjid to enjoy cake and candy so they would not feel "left out" on this holiday.
My question is - what would the Prophet have said about this compromise?
How many of our masjids are paid for with riba? How many of our masjids are filled with women wearing the headpiece accompanied by the clothing of men (pants) or worse yet, not even bothering to wear the khymar? How many of our masjids are homes to bida, gheebah and/or shirk? How many of us would be proud of Jumah Khutbah at our masjids? Not many.
I challenge anyone. Make a composite of the Prophet, his life and his characteristics. Delete those that would make his identity obvious. Present it to Muslims and ask if this man is a normal Muslim, a fundamentalist or a fanatic. Don't be shocked by how many people label him as a fanatic.
Trust me, the Prophet would be considered the strangest of us all, the most fanatic. I can only say this: Good tidings to the strangers".. Good tidings to Rasul Allah. Allah guide us all.
El Yihad Latino Musulmán
Por Juan Galvan
Dejen a los Americanos preguntarse, "Por qué muchos Latinos se están convertiendo al Islam" ¿Qué hay en esa religión? Aproximadamente 40,000 Latino Musulmanes viven en los estados Unidos. Desafortunadamente, el número de Latinos convertidos al Islam es menor al porcentaje de Afro-Americanos y de los anglo-americanos.. La mayoría de los Latino Musulmanes que se han convertido al Islam tienen como antecedente la religion católica. De aquí que, las conversions de latinos al Islam es el resultado de Dawah. Como la mayoría de los Americanos convertidos, ellos se han dado cuenta de que el Islam es la religión universal y verdadera de nuestro creador. El éxito del Islam en los estados Unidos dependerá del crecimiento en población de las minorías y el incremento en actividades de Dawah; ya que el Islam es la religión que ha demostrado un crecimiento rápido de conversos en los Estados Unidos.
Censos de Población de la Comunidad Latina
La población Latina en los Estados Unidos está creciendo a pasos agigantados. Para el año 2,050, uno de cada cuatro americanos será Latino. El censo de Marzo del 2,000, mostró 32.8 millones de Latinos viven en los Estados Unidos de los cuales el 66% de ellos son Mexico-Americanos. La población Latina tiene en su mayoría jóvenes menores de 26 años, y una tercera parte de ellos menores de 18 años, Estas cifras hacen a la poblacion Latina mucho más joven que la población anglo-americana, con un porcentaje bajo de ancianos.
En 1990, aproximadamente 9 de 10 Latinos vivieron en diez estados . California, Texas,New York,Florida,Illinois, Arizona,New Jersey,New Mexico, Colorado y Massachusetts. La mayoría de Latinos viven en la parte Suroeste de los estados Unidos con un porcentaje del 78%. Dawah deberá enfocarse en estas 10 ciudades, De estas 10 ciudades, en las cuales los índices de población más elevada de Latinos se encuentran en New York city, Los Angeles, Chicago,Houston,San Antonio,Phoenix, and Miami. Sin sorprendernos, encontramos que la mayoría de conversiones provienen de estas grandes ciudades en las cuales se encuentran grandes concentraciones de Musulmanes imigrantes de diferentes grupos étnicos. Esta interacción de Latinos con musulmanes, ya sean vecinos, compañeros de trabajo y amigos es el primer contacto con el Islam. De aquí que, este primer contacto es muy importante para proporcionar una influencia positive con Latinos no-musulmanes.
La mitad de la población Latina en toda la nación vive en California o Texas. Mientras que el 20% de la población Americana Musulmana vive en California, solo el 3% vive en Texas. Esta desproporción enorme de musulmanes hace que Texas necesite más mezquitas, Imams,centros de educación Islamicá. El 3% de estos musulmanes no ha creado un programa para propagar el Islam a los Texanos. Las mezquitas existentes necesitan literatura básica sobre el Islam en Inglés y en Español, así como libros, videotapes, CDs, audiotapes.
No es necesario hacer notar que la sociedad Americana,necesita incorporar el Islam como un modo de vida diaria. Todos los musulmanes deben luchar por eliminar problema existentes en la comunidad Latina, tales como: los bajos salarios,mejorar las condiciones de salud y lograr educación escoar a lo largo del Velle de rio Grande. El Islam es la solución a los problemas que se suscitan en las grandes ciudades Americanas. Debemos hacer saber a los mericanos, la belleza del Islam por medio del ejemplo del profeta Muhammed (saws).
Conversiones de Latinos
La conversion a otra religión siempre sera una decisión personal. El monoteísmo Islámico y la Unidad de Dios (Tawheed) aclaran las contradicciones dentro del Cristianismo y esto ha sido considerado el factor principal de las conversions al Islam entre Latinos. Otros ejemplos de contradicciones incluyen: la creencia en el pecado original, la Trinidad, y toda la cadena de santos con características divinas. Muchos conversos al Islam han expresado su relación más profunda y directa con Dios que la que experimentaron siendo católicos.
Muchos latinos se asombran al saber que España fué Musulmana por más de 700 años, y de la influencia musulmana que todavía se aprecia en la cultura y arquitectura de Hispanoamérica. Como también, miles de palaras del Castellano provienen del lenguaje árabe. Reportes de arqueólogos han encontrado escritura árabe desde Cuba, Mexico y Texas, las cuales datan dese antes de 1492. Solo el 20% de Musulmanes descienden de árabes. Mis abuelos que nacierón en México están encontrando el Islam. Los Musulmanes Mexicanos están propagandao el Islam por medio de la verdad, la paciencia y cordialidad. Pero la manera más efectiva es practicando el Islam y dando buen ejemplo.
El Yihad- La lucha interna
Existen barreras socials y culturales entre los musulmanes y las comunidades Latinas. Los Musulmanes y los Latinos deben resolver sus prejuicios y diferencias. Algunos Latinos interesados en el Islam temen comentarios negativos, soledad, rechazo y alineación de parte de amigos y familia. Desafortunadamente un tercio de los musulmanes convertidos abandonan el Islam.
Muchos Latinos se encuentran muy solos, muy a menudo se encuentran rompiendo el ayuno en la soledad, así como rezando y aprendiendo. Todos los nuevos Musulmanes Latinos, deben saber que al convertirse al Islam, ellos no estan forzados a cambiar su cultura, todo lo contrario deben sentirse orgullosos de sus antepasados, ya sean criollos o indígenas. Este mantenimiento de nuestra cultura y socialización se verá modificada de acuerdo a los preceptos del Islam, en cuanto a comidas y bebidas.
Progresos y Organizaciones
Muchos Latinos Musulmanes han formado sus propias organizaciones, grupos informales también han empezado a entablar relación con la comunidad Latina. Estos grupos tienen las mismas estrategias. Algunos grupos se reunen para aprender y enseñar los principios básicos del Islam, aprender a rezar y el lenguaje árabe. Otros grupos se han dedicado a dar conferencias en Universidades, prisiones, iglesias y a participar con otras religions En eventos de convivencia común. Algunas organizaciones se han encargado de distribuir literature sobre Islam en Español a las prisiones, centro islámicos y a grupos de Dawah en diferentes partes de los Estados Unidos. Tu tiempo es el regalo más grande que tu puedes dar.
The Latino Muslim Jihad
By Juan Galvan
Let all Americans wonder, "Why are so many Latinos converting to Islam? What is it about that religion?" Estimated reports claim 40,000 Latino Muslims live in the U.S. Unfortunately, the rate of conversion of Latinos to Islam is lower than that of African-Americans and the non-Hispanic White population. Most Latino Muslims are converts who were formerly Catholic. Most Latino Muslims embrace Islam as a result of dawah. Like many other Americans, they have realized that Islam is the true, universal religion of our Creator. Many Muslims are beginning to realize what many Latinos have been stating for years. Success of Islam in America depends upon the fastest growing US minority group embracing the fastest growing US religion.
Enlightening American Latino Demographics
The US Latino population is growing at an astonishing rate. By 2050, one out of every four Americans is expected to be Latino. In March 2000, 32.8 million Latinos lived in the United States. According to the 2000 US census, Mexican Americans comprise 66% of US Latinos. The Latino population is younger and has fewer elderly than the non-Latino White population. Half of the US Latinos are under 26 and more than a third are under 18.
In 1990, nearly 9 out of every 10 Latinos lived in only 10 States. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado, and Massachusetts have the largest Hispanic populations, respectively. 78% of the Latino population lives in the Southwest. Dawah must target the ten largest Latino concentrated states. Within each of these states, major cities should be targetted. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Miami are cities with the largest Latino populations. Most US Latinos and US Muslims live in major metropolitan areas. Not surprisingly, we find large numbers of Latino Muslims and higher Latino conversion rates within these metropolitan cities. High levels of interaction among Latinos and Muslim neighbors and friends most likely influence the rate of conversions to Islam.
Half of the nation's Latino population lives in California or Texas. Whereas 20% of all American Muslims live in California, only 3% percent live in Texas. Consider the current condition of Islam in Texas. Texas desperately needs more literature, mosques, imams, and educational centers. Muslims have not created the foundation needed to reach any Texan. Mosques need English and Spanish literature including books, audiotapes, videotapes, and instructional CDs.
We do not need to point out the need for Islam in the everyday lives of all Americans. All Muslims should struggle to eliminate problems within the Latino community around America. For example, Muslims should have a desire to work toward fighting poverty rates, health conditions, and educational attainment along the Rio Grande Valley region. Islam is the answer for various problems within our American cities. We must let Americans see the beauty of Islam by following the example of the Prophet.
Conversion to another religion will always continue to be a personal choice. Contradictions in Christianity to Islamic monotheism, or Tawheed, are generally the guiding factors for conversion to Islam among Latinos. Examples of these contradictions include difficulty in believing in original sin, trinity, and sainthood. Many Latino reverts express a deeper relationship with God than experienced with Catholicism.
Many Latinos are also amazed to learn that Spain was Muslim for over 700 years, and Islamic Spain's influence on Hispanic culture. Thousands of Spanish words are derived from Arabic. Archaeologists have found Islamic inscriptions throughout Cuba, Mexico, and Texas that date back before 1492. Only 20% of Muslims are of Arab descent. My great-grandparents' birthplace, Mexico, is also finding Islam. Mexican Muslims are reaching out to other Mexicans with truth, patience, and good manners. They acknowledge that the best way to spread Islam is to practice it.
The Jihad Within
A social barrier exists between the Muslim and Latino communities. Muslims and Latinos must break through common negative stereotypes they may hold of one another. Latinos interested in Islam fear negative comments, loneliness, rejection, and alienation from friends and family. Unfortunately, an estimated one-third to half of all Muslim converts leave Islam.
Many Latino Muslims find themselves very alone. They often find themselves breaking their fast alone, studying alone, praying alone, and culturally alone. Most Latinos are accustomed to the traditions of and unity with their family and friends. Before Latinos will embrace another religion, they must believe that the new religion justifies leaving their previous religion. Latinos have a love for family and religion. Islam is both a family and religion. We, Latino Muslims, strive to adapt our culture within the boundaries set forth by Islam.
Organizations and progress
Many Latino Muslims have formed their own organizations and informal groups to reach out to the Latino community. Most have similar strategies. Many groups get together to learn or teach the fundamentals of Islam, the Muslim prayer, and Arabic. Many groups deliver speeches at mosques, high schools, colleges, prisons, churches, and at various organizations. Many organizations seek to distribute Spanish literature to correction facilities, Islamic centers, and dawah groups throughout the USA. Interfaith dialogues at Catholic Churches are also popular. Time is the greatest gift you can give.
Fareed H. Numan, The Muslim Population in the United States, American Muslim Council, Washington DC, 1990.
Ihsan Bagby, PhD, et al. "The Mosque In America: A National Portrait." CAIR. April 2001. http://www.cair-net.org/mosquereport/Masjid_Study_Project_2000_Report.pdf
U.S. Census. Ethnic and Hispanic Statistics Branch. "U.S. Hispanic Population: 2000." http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hispanic/p20-535/p20-535.pdf
US Census Bureau. "We the American"Hispanics." Issued September 1993. http://www.census.gov/apsd/wepeople/we-2r.pdf
Truth Hidden by Christian Spaniards
By Francisco Rodriguez
The hidden truth that was concealed for centuries, by the Christian Spaniards!
It was told by a Chieftain from the Mohawk and Iroquois Federation, that the first non Native-Americans they had encountered off the Eastern Shores of Northern America, were not the so-called Vikings or in general, the Infamous Europeans; but instead lo in behold, the Moors of Al Andalus! Long before the first European ever made contact with the Native-Americans, some nearly one hundred years before Colombus, ever sailed off the shores of Galicia. In fact the first means of commerce and trade, was not between the Europeans and the Native Americans themselves, but lo in behold between yes, the Moors and the Native-Americans themselves, who first introduced oranges, lemons, cotton, and the means of cultivating the land. Thus, long before Colombus or the first European colony, was settled either in the States or in the Carribean. It is said that many Native-Americans knew about cultivating fruit, vegetables, and the irrigation of the land, before the Europeans ever made this concept known to the Native-Americans. In fact, in the case of the Iroquois, this usage was thence passed down in time, from a simple concept brought to them, by the Andalucians who generally were masters of agriculture. For the proof lays within Al Andalus itself! It was stated and found, that upon Colombus voyage to the Americas, he found Arabic inscriptions on ruin walls, and even the Conquistadors did likewise in Mexico, and in Central America!
Now then many would ask, how would this be feasible if supposively the Europeans, were the only ones who knew the perimeters of navigation, and the outlook of the what the world was like: and only they had the means as an armada and science, to be able to reach such far away distant lands as either India, China, or for that matter, the Americas! But if only one studied Islamic Spain or Al Andalus, they would encouter the fact that the Andalucian Moors, not only had the first remnants of a once great armada; but the fact that simply put, were known for their interaction with commerce with their fellow Muslim brethren from as far as Syria and the Middle East, to the shores of India. And even with their enemies, the Christian Infidels!
Let us not forget that Al Andalus, produced the greatest of not only Islamic, Arabic science, but the seed for European science. Why it is chronicled that many Christians Europeans; mainly Spanish, French and Portuguese, were sent to Al Andalus, to learn about algebra, geometry, physics, mathematics, science, medicine, and lastly but, astronomy. Henceforth long before the invention of the compass was made, the Moors, had through astronomy, learned how to pin point the navigation of a vessel or ship already.
Now then once again, one would inquire, what does this prove or correlate, with the Moors in general? Simple, that this same method of navigation that the Moors utilized in their journeys abroad, were thus after 1492 at the last fall of Moorish Spain at Grenada, utilised by Colombus himself, when he sailed out of the port of Galicia, with this same tactic or naval navigation! In fact Colombus even admitted, that once he arrived to greet the Arawaks of the Carribean, he claimed to have seen populations there dressed like Grenadan Moors. Infact he brought with him a Morisco or Mudejar by the name of Luis Torres, hoping to find communication through Islamic lands abroad that led to the Far East, his original destination! Thus it can be said, that Arabic, was the first language, that the Europeans used in trying to communicate with the Native-American! What Spanish Christian Spain failed to mention, was that the Moriscos or Mudejares, built the ships for Colombus, in the Moorish dry docks itself. And that the theory that the earth was round, was copied and already introduced, by the Moors(Al Baladiyyun) of which Colombus was already prevalent to! Infact Muslims had elaborated that concept and measured the earth's circumference, 700 yrs before Colombus reached the Carribean!
Now once again how can this be proven? Well through the stored works and records of 'Ibn Sina, 'Ibn Rushd, 'Ibn Qutiyyah and others! Thus, we know about the influence of the Moors, on the Spanish Inquisition in the Americas; and the Moors alleged intercommunication with the Native-Americans. Thenceforth, what does this prove anew? It proves the following one, that it was not Colombus who discovered America, for it was already discovered by the Native-Americans themselves. But for the sake of stipulation, it would be safe to say, that according to the evidence that I have presented, that it was the Andalusian Moors of Al Andalus, who discovered the Americas, and not the so-called Christian Spaniards! Secondly, the so-called Spanish Inquisition, was merely a continuation of the first Spanish Inquisition, against the Moors in Spain. Therefore it precludes that the Christians of Spain, still even after the fall of Grenada in 1492 believed, that the Moorish Empire, was far beyond the edges of Northern Africa, there afterwards. Even then they were incursions made by them into Northern Africa, with the premise of destroying the remaning Moorish Empires, which eventually led to the stolen acquisitions of both Ceuta, and Melilla itself years aftewards!
For many years this had been denied and omitted by the the Christian Spaniard. But yet one thing profoundly that surfaced many years afterwards long since the death of Colombus, the fact that the Christian Spaniards, feared the spread of Islam, because not only did it have a social and governmental structure of governing was which logical, and that many Christians had converted to Islam, because of it's practicality! But because it was seen as well, as a viable threat to Christendom. Thus everything about Islam was errased, and thus the recipient of this wrath, was the Mudejar or Morisco, descendant of the Moors, at the hands of their admonishers, the Christian Spaniards!
For many years as well, it was sequestered and hidden, was the hidden truth, that despite the prohibition imposed on the Moriscos or Mudejares to travel to the Americas, many did! Infact, many by then who had been completely or virtually absorbed and endoctrined into Catholicism, fled to the Americas. Especially to Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, etc. Ironically many of the arquitectural homes and great large cathedrals that are seen today in those countries and in Spain, were built by Moriscos or Mudejares. In fact the adobe homes and narrow streets of those countries, was a Moorish adaption of their very own homes and streets in once Al Andalus! As for the large Cathedrals, the towers themselves, were a Muslim derrivation of the Muslim minarets of early Muslim Mosques in Al Andalus. It was said, that in those days that suceeded after the Moor's flight, that many Christians still imitated the acts of the Muslims. Such as announcing at a tower with generally the caretaker of the church, calling on the masses to assemble, then it was replaced of course, by the familiar church bell!
Now we know the truth about what really happened behind the scence, agenda, premise, and but lastly, the hidden truth of the Mudejar, Morisco contribution, in the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the Americas! And the hidden truth about what laid in secret, behind the Spanish Inquisition in Spain and the truth about the Morisco and Mudejar in the end! A Tunisian scholar tells of going to Spainish municipalities and requesting Inquisitorial records, and in some cases reported that some women official would bring them to him, and hand them over to him, with tears in their eyes, asking the Muslims to forgive the sins of their ancestors!
A recent Morisco descendant of Morocco, and a Mudejar descendant of Spain met at the mosque in Cordoba in Andalucia. The Morisco said I speak Spanish, though I speak Arabic. The Mudejar said I speak Spanish, but not well Arabic. But I found an old relic under a tile of an old church nearby in Cordoba. A relic that had the inscription in Arabic, with the words of (La ilaha illah!)He showed it to the Morisco whose name was Mahmoud Gharsiyya, and the Mudejar said to him, what my name is Garcia, Juan Garcia!" They looked at each other and the Morisco said in Spanish, Garcia, "Entonces tu eres mi pariente?" "You are my kindred?" The Mudejar said back in Spanish, "Si, Yo soy tu pariente, mi padre y mis abuelos son de Andalucia! Pero segun ellos, sus antepasados eran de Marruecos!" "Yes, I am your kindred, my Father and my Grandfather are from Andalucia! But according to them, their ancestors were from Morocco!" They chuckled, because the Mudejar remembered a phrase that he said aloud, "Ojala!" The Morisco said oh no, "It is Inshallah!" How odd that two peoples from the same seed and background of Al Andalus, were so distant and apart through the Spanish Inquisition; but yet in the end even despite that, they came to know each other as brothers, Morisco and Mudejar, the lost descendants of the Moors(Al Baladiyyun!) of Al Andalus! This I ask is it merely, a simple mere coincidence that presently many Arabs, Berbers, look like Hispanics, and vice-versa? No, it is not, it is but more a linkeage of blood. I do not dismiss that many Hispanics have Indian blood in them, but as for the Spanish blood, it it is indeed Mudejar or Morisco!
In parting it is said, that even the known Jewish scholar Maimonides exclaimed, that the greatest danger facing the Andalusian Jew, was the atraction to Islam. It is said that perhaps the roots of Zionism fermented itself anon, from Al Andalus, at the exile of the Sephardic Jews! And King Philip regreted expelling the Moors, because of the many vast contribuitions that had been manifested on Spain itself by the Moors. Lastly it is quoted that a French Cardinal Richelieu, chief miniser of Louis 12, said of the expulsion of the Moriscos and assimilation of the Mudejares, that it was, "The most audacious and barbarous counsel recorded in the history of all preceding ages!" Thus I ask the Latino or Hispanic Muslim who claims original ancestral roots to Spain or Portugal, what more proof do you need, for you to come to the realization, that you were always a Muslim, Mudejar or Morisco, before you were a Christian, or Castillian? For the Castillian did not even exist in earnest as an identity, not until the 13 century 6 centuries after the Moors entered Spain. And that Spanish or Castillian itself, was not created as well, before the Moors had arrived. Arabic came before Castillian or Spanish!
Spain Returning to Islam
By Yusuf Fernández
Since the seventies the number of Muslims in Spain has been increasing. Muslims signed an agreement with the state 10 years ago but last Spanish governements haven´t implemented it up to now. Nowadays, there are about 500.000 Muslims in Spain. Most of them are Moroccan immigrants. There is a growing number of Spaniards who enter Islam especially in the southern region of Andalusia, where there are still lots of buildings and monuments which come from the time of Al Andalus (711-1492).
Among the countries of Europe, Spain was that which had the longest period of a Muslim presence in its territory. The Islamic state of Al Andalus (711-1492) was destroyed at last by the Spanish and foreign crusaders after eight centuries of a cruel war, but left deep cultural roots in the southern region of Andalusia and the whole country. Spanish is the most arabized European language. There are actually about 6.000 Spanish words, which come from Arabic.
In the seventies, after more than 500 years of silence and the end of Franco´s dictatorship, Islam started to return slowly to the Spanish lands. The Constitution of 1978 put an end to the catholic confessional state, which had lasted five centuries. In 1980 the Law of Religious Freedom was passed by the Parliament. It made possible for non-catholic communities to organize and set lawful organizations in the country.
In that time, some Islamic communities started to appear in Andalusia -the southern region where Islam was present for a longer time and there are numerous monuments from the Muslim age, such as the Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, and the Giralda Tower in Seville-. Andalusian people who began an investigation about their past and history and found Islam in that search made some of these first communities up. Grenada, a beautiful city, which was the last capital of the Spanish Muslim state, became the first centre of the Islamic revival in Spain.
Students made up other groups from the Middle East, especially Syria and Palestine, which started to come to Spain in the seventies. Moreover, Saudi Arabia built some important Islamic centres such as the Mosque of Marbella, a touristic city situated by the Mediterranean Coast, to serve Muslim people from the states of the Persian Gulf who came to spend some time in Spain for business or holidays. From Grenada, Islam began to spread to other cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and others. Apart from the interest towards the history of Spain, the increase of the number of travels to the Muslim countries -especially Morocco and Turkey- and the circulation of Muslim books, including those that were written by Muslim scholars from the Al Andalus age, contributed to make the interest towards Islam rise. Since the seventies there have been about 20.000 Spaniards of origin who have become Muslims. A half of this number are women. The collective of Muslim women has carried out an extraordinary activity, which has resulted in three important congresses. The last one of them took place in Córdoba last March. As a whole, there are about 500.000 Muslim people in Spain nowadays.
In the eighties, there was also a steady growth in the number of the Moroccan immigrants, which came to Spain. Nowadays, the 90% of the Muslims from Spain are Moroccans or Spaniards of Moroccan origin. There are important collectives of Algerian and Senegalese Muslims too.
One of the main demands of Spanish Muslim community is the transformation of the Mosque of Cordoba -which was turned into a catholic cathedral after the conquer of the city by the Christian kings in the 13 century and has been declared a "world art heritage" by UNESCO recently- into an interfaith building which Catholics and Muslim can share for their religious activities. However, this demand has been rejected by the catholic Bishopric of the city, which has been preventing Muslim people from praying in the Mosque. During the last congress of Muslim women in Cordoba, the security guards who have been hired by the Bishop harassed some Muslims who went to the Mosque and prayed there.
Another demand of the Spanish Muslims is the effective application of the Agreement of 1992, which was signed by the Spanish state with the representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Protestant communities. This agreement was historical in Spain and was the first one of this type in Europe. This agreement was passed by the Parliament as a law. It recognized some rights for non catholic people and communities -which only the Catholic Church had had until that moment-, such as classes at public schools, visits to prisons, military centres and hospitals to offer religious assistance there and others.
Despite being a law, this agreement has not been developed up to now by the Spanish governments, so the Catholic Church keeps having lots of privileges. The state gives money, coming from the state's budget, only to the Catholic Church although Spain is, according to its Constitution, a non-confessional country. Therefore, the Muslims from Spain have still a long way in front of them before getting the rights, which, as Spanish citizens, belong to them.
This Hispanic Islamic revival is not only taking place in Spain. Islam is spreading also in Latin America and among Hispanic people living in the United States. According to the American Muslim Council, an advocacy group in Washington, there are about 25,000 Hispanic Muslims in the country. The largest communities are in New York City, Southern California and Chicago, all places that traditionally have had large Hispanic and Muslim populations.
Yusuf Fernández is a journalist who embraced Islam in 1989. He is the spokesman of the Islamic Spanish Federation of Islamic Communities (FEERI). He lives in Madrid, the capital of Spain.
Not Your Typical Interview
Funny and clever! The interview between a Fox interviewer and the Lebanese Ambassador to the
U.S., Mr. Farid Abboud. This was GREAT ! If you didn't see the interview, then THIS IS A MUST READ !!!
Fox Interviewer: Mr. Ambassador, do you consider Hizbollah a terrorist organization ?
Abboud: Yes, Sharon is a terrorist !
Fox: Mr. Ambassador, this was not my question. I asked you about the operations of Hizbollah in the targeting and killing of innocent civilians. How do you view Hizbollah ?
Abboud: Yes, Sharon the terrorist has killed thousands upon thousands of civilians. He is the biggest terrorist out there !
Fox: Mr. Ambassador. Please answer my question. Do you consider Hizbollah a terrorist organization or not ??? Are you against the killing of innocent civilians ?!
Abboud: Of course I am against the killing of innocent civilians. You have to define who the innocent civilians are. Sharon, the terrorist has killed many thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians and he is continuing to do so !
Fox: But what about Hizbollah ? Are you telling us that Hizbollah never killed any civilians or plotted to kill any innocent civilians ?
Abboud: Hizbollah is a resistance movement. They have a place in the Lebanese parliament and they are fighting for justice and for a good cause. If there were innocent civilians hurt in the process, they are a casualty of war. Hizbollah does not target civilians on purpose, unlike the war monger, Sharon, whose only targets have been civilians, including children !!!
Fox: Mr. Ambassador, does this mean you condone the suicide bombers ?!
Abboud: I do not condone the actions of the war criminal Sharon !!!
Fox interviewer (with apparent frustration): Mr. Ambassador, please stop evading my questions and answer them directly ! Do you condone the suicide bombers ?!
Abboud: I do not condone the killing of innocent civilians, but we have to define who is an innocent civilian and who is not !!! If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills a bunch of Israeli soldiers who are committing atrocities against the defenseless Palestinian population, do you consider these soldiers as innocent civilians ???
Fox interviewer (sighing): Mr. Abboud, do you recognize Israel's right to exist ?
Abboud: Yes, I recognize PALESTINE'S right to exist !!!
Fox interviewer (no words to describe his face): Mr. Ambassador. Please stop this aversion in answering, and answer our specific questions !!! Do you recognize Israel's right to exist or not ?!
Abboud: Israel already exists sir. It does not need my recognition. It is the recognition of Palestine to exist that should be addressed !!!
Fox: Mr. Ambassador, why are you so one sided and biased in answering our questions ???
Abboud: Sir, it is you who is very one-sided and biased in your questioning !!!
Fox interviewer (totally at a loss of words): Mr. Abboud, Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, thank you sir for your time and the interview.
Allah Won't Ask...
1. Allah won't ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
2. Allah won't ask what your highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character or morals to obtain that salary.
3. Allah won't ask the square footage of your house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
4. Allah won't ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of those clothes helped the needy.
5 Allah won't ask about your social status, but will ask what kind of class you displayed.
6. Allah won't ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life.
7. Allah won't ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for your family and loved ones.
8. Allah won't ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others.
9. Allah won't ask what your job title was, but will ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
10. Allah won't ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others.
11. Allah won't ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend.
12. Allah won't ask what you did to protect your rights, but will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.
13. Allah won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but will ask how you treated your neighbors.
14. Allah won't ask about the color of your skin, but will ask about the content of your character.
15. Allah won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words, but will ask how many times they didn't.